Mozambique. The very name conjures up images of exotic cocktails, flaming sunsets over glassy calm seas and diving into waters the colours of your most tranquil mood ever.
Airlink flies me to Vilanculos in Mozambique from OR Tambo in Johannesburg on a lazy, late-winter afternoon and I land just before one in the afternoon.
Antonio, the Rani Resorts representative meets me and after about half an hour’s wait we board a 'caravan' – a 12-seater aircraft on route to Bazaruto Island and my heavenly destination for the next two days, Indigo Bay Island Resort.
The weather is partly cloudy and only 23 degrees, but I can feel the humidity creeping up. The flight lasts only 15 minutes and beneath me the sea and coral reefs resemble a surrealist painting of beige, indigo, azure and pastel blues and greens.
I am met with huge smiles all around. Indigo Bay has an unpretentious island feel but one is immediately aware of five-star service, facilities and luxury. I’m shown to my room and given the lay of the land.
The rooms are gorgeous: very spacious with mini-bar, air conditioning, indoor and outdoor shower and a sunken bath with a view. The resort can accommodate 114 guests but it doesn’t feel like a big resort. Instead of the rooms being on top of each other, they are separate units spread out and intimate.
I have lunch at Club Naval overlooking the sea with an appropriate Pina Colada accompanied by a palate-pleasing duck and feta salad for starters and mackerel for main. I spend the rest of the afternoon in a stupor, swaying in my hammock reading, half in and out of sleep.
The sun goes down over the Indian Ocean in a blaze of oranges, then reds then pinks and I reluctantly embark on the massive five-metre trek to my villa for a fragrant bath by candlelight, watching the last light over the sea. Dinner comprises minced mussel and line fish in a herb crust, followed by pork loin, served on the patio restaurant by candlelight with soft jazz playing in background.
After my languid meal and excellent house wine - all food, local beer, wine and spirits as well as certain activities are included in the price - I saunter back to my villa. There is no moon so for a while I sit on the beach in reverie, the only sound the crickets, the soft lapping of the water and my only company the Milky Way and a gazillion stars in the galaxy. There is not a breath of wind.
This visceral feeling is unparalleled. I feel strangely untouched by the world so far, far away and completely alone under this shiny, big black open sky with all its twinkles - and at peace. I creep in under my wonderful duvet with the soft waves singing me to sleep.
After breakfast the next morning it’s off to Paradise Island, about a 15-minute boat ride away. The boat anchors close to the island for snorkelling. The water is like blue shiny silk and the visibility is all the way down - about six metres where little blue and yellow fish as well as jellyfish cavort.
A beach barbeque awaits after all this activity. While the other guests frolic in the warm water, a guide takes me to see the ruins of the only hotel on the island. It could accommodate more than 300 people once upon a time and now stands empty and silent - a concrete corpse silently gazing out over the azure water. It is eerie.
After a brisk and hot 20-minute walk back, its time for a delicious lunch of sosaties and fresh prawns. Back on terra firma later that afternoon it is almost immediately back to messing about in boats again. We go for a short sundowner cruise on a traditional dhow and much high-jinx ensues thanks to a hilariously funny couple from Malawi.
The sun sinks lazily in a million orange blazes over the calm ocean and all is right with the world. Dinner that evening is served at Club Naval and candles and torches are set up all around the beach at the water’s edge. Happy laughter emanates from every table... enter a sumptuous buffet of chicken, fish and oxtail as well as crayfish pasta as well as carbonara. The night enfolds me like a blanket.
The following morning I am treated to a heavenly back massage by Rizia, the Spa manager. The Spa is spectacularly located above the lodge with a breathtaking view.
The longer you stay at Indigo Bay the more you realize that there is and should only joy to be had in this world. I was tense when I got here. You know, the normal run of the mill stress kind of tense. And like a caterpillar transforming, I felt myself gradually going with the flow, the people, the blue sky, the sea and the laughter.
Cascading happily backward to where I once was in my life - in the moment. The only thing I didn’t have time to do at Indigo bay is nothing. And that is why I shall return. To do nothing at all. And I can't wait.